Celebrating The Moments That Count The Most | Happy 49th Birthday | {San Diego Portrait Photographer}

“Breathe. Let go.

And remind yourself that this very moment

is the ONLY ONE you know you have for sure.”

-Oprah Winfrey

These moments, the BIG moments, where life is full and busy and all the crazy and chaos of raising a family while working; those are the ones that need to be planned for. The ending of a decade and the beginning of a new decade-these should be celebrated so you and your loves will never forget those amazing endings and beginnings. How you looked, Who you were at these very important moments… Let go and never forget. You. Them. You are so very worth it.

Happy 49th Birthday, Beautiful! No matter how old you grow to, you and your daughter will never forget the experience you shared on this special day. You’ll never forget what 49 looked like and you will be able to share all this with her children someday…

The Story of Violet | A Story of New Life and Miracles | A Story of Joy & Hope

“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.” -Mitch Album

The story of Violet is really the story miracles. In the face of devastation, new beginnings; in the face of great pain, great joy; and in the presence of death, new life… life that is filled with hope and joy and miracles. I think we have to constantly point them out…

“Those who sew in tears will reap with joyful shouting” -Psalms 126:5 Bible

Meet Violet of Violet June Photography in Murrieta! She is an award winning photographer; we are friends through our professional organization: Professional Photographers of San Diego County. When Violet became pregnant I was very excited. She chose me to photograph her after I entered an emotional image in one of our photo competitions. (Or maybe it was because I kept asking her who would be photographing her!) That image of a cancer and domestic abuse survivor spoke to her. It wasn’t long before I learned of all Violet’s story.

Violet fought a long hard battle with breast cancer which resulted in a double mastectomy to save her life. To repair her young body they used her belly to create breasts and then informed her she would never be able to have children. I can only imagine her reaction… the reaction of her husband. This type of devastation at such a young age with all of life ahead. But then I found myself looking at Violet’s life through the lens of a mother, her mother… It’s one thing to have stuff happen to you, but to have bad things happen to your children?!?! Mother’s fix things, we kiss owies, and make life better; we pick up our kids when they are down and set them on the path to recover, but there was nothing anyone, especially her mother, could do to fix or kiss all this away. They just had to let the Doctors work.

As we met together she showed her scars where the port had been in her chest and her first Cesarean Section from her first son. Some say that Doctors say “practice” because they are not always right, and in this case thankfully, they were not. Now pregnant with her second son, she wanted me to highlight the scars and show the big round belly she was carrying. While I thought it was beautiful and very baby full-sized, she felt it was odd shaped after Doctors had removed some of her belly. Here in this session I was able to focus on her joy, her laughter, her sexiness (seriously!!) and occasionally, you could see the cost behind what she had already encountered.

I asked her about having cancer and she told me what cancer taught her was “how to really be alive.

“The Other Scars Say I Almost Died; Yours, Will Bring New Life”

Violet now has three healthy sons at home, Three children under three! I think that makes her an over-achiever and I’m sure, it makes her mother and husband incredibly happy. It also guarantees her a life filled with all the joy, and mess and crazy and kisses and chaos that is family… And that is all so wonderful. One thing I have noticed is that in spite of whatever is happening around her, Violet is still full of joy, inquisitive, still really friendly and has a sense about her of looking at life as an adventure, not as a tragedy, not looking to the past. Her eyes are bright and always looking ahead, fully present, fully alive. When her boys grow up and look back on their lives, they are going to see their Mother’s story. When they ponder her story of courage, perseverance and sacrifice, they will know of their importance and their value to their mother and of course, father; and when they look at their lives, they will always see her in their decisions, and in their determination. They will see how their parents made the best possible life for their children… and they will get the joy and responsibility of starting that all over again in their own lives.

You see Violet’s work and find more of Violet June Photography at: https://www.violetjunephoto.com/

Celebrate Life!

These Special Moments…

Mother Daughter Sessions

There are times at night I would dream of moments that have passed in my life. Sometimes I would dream of when my children were little and I could carry them again. Sometimes I would dream that they were sitting in my lap and we would just look at each other, all smiles, all love. We would “see” into each other’s heart and know that deep connection, that indescribable love. Just from that look, they knew how much I adored them and I too knew that I was the recipient of that unconditional love that God instills in children towards their parents. That is a trust and a treasure. In my dream, I would want that moment to never end, and every time I started to wake up I would find myself saying: “No, don’t go…”

Today, every chance I get this is what I want every mother that sits in front of my camera to feel…to be comfortable in her own skin, see how beautiful she really is, know her worth,  and how that translates into her children…Children always see their mothers as beautiful, as powerful and as amazing. Mothers always see their children as “becoming”! With every new challenge and success (or failure which is how we find success!), Mama is always the one who is the greatest cheerleader.

Seeing all of this from my perspective, if I could share with you anything, I would say this: You and your child will only be this age once. Someday this phase of your life will be over and what will you have to show for it? Don’t wait for your next dream. Together, let’s make something beautiful and get it on your wall so you can stare at the image of who you are and who your children are, now; and gaze on the intimate bond that you share. No one else knows you like you’re children do…

This is why I photograph-it’s my greatest joy and an immense honor to ensure that your deepest connections and most intimate moments will be captured for all times so you will never forget how enriched your life is, in the midst of the busy, the chaos and the right now.

Generations…Grandparents, Parents, Children |Our greatest joys |Cindie Wolf Photography |

Family Portraits

It starts with two, then turns to three, which becomes more. Nothing is more valuable than family. Grandparents, parents and children, our greatest gifts, most valued treasures, and tremendous joy. 

It starts with two, just me and you…
Then turns to four… and then into more..

Family, Generations of love. We create our family history and then preserve it for our future generations. It’s in the day to day that a family’s story is written in the heart and mind of its children. Then those children grow up to become adults, and then it starts again… What a wonderful life!

The Importance of Family Photos // San Diego Family Photographer Cindie Wolf

Do you really need to update your family pictures every year?

A lot of families ask me this questions and well, no you don’t, but you should for several reasons.

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If you have kids they GROW SO FAST! It seems like yesterday my children were toddlers, but the reality is I now have three grandchildren that I adore and even they are growing too fast! Holding their snuggly newborn bodies, watching them learn to sit up, say their first words, take their first steps…. It all flies by, way too fast. They grow and change so quickly that I recommend getting family photographs and “spotlight” photos (of each child individually) every three to six months their first year and then once a year from ages one to five. After five, I suggest family photos every other year from then on. Losing the first tooth, hitting double digits on their birthday, the first year of being a “tween” (12), roaring into teenager status, sweet 16 and the big 18! These are all mile marker years and all of them should be celebrated and documented.

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It’s not about creating an altar for each child throughout the house. You won’t really display every photo from every year, but we can create a long-term plan so that as you add legacy pieces to your home. You should enlarge one or two portraits from each session. I suggest my clients redisplay portraits around the house or even swap their enlargements seasonally. This way your home and your art will still hold that “put together” look and still belong together. Your newest enlargement should always be in the primary place in the home, over the fireplace or in your main room. With all the rest of your photos from your sessions, you may want to print some small gift prints like 5×7 and 8×10’s to put around the house or at the office or give as family gifts. I like to create coffee table books in those years when there isn’t the need to update the large family photograph. These are about 10×10 with 30 images inside; they are a great way to save your favorites and look back over time. Family and friends will surely go through these when they come to visit.

As the years’ pass, we will create over time a volume of albums to document your family’s story. If you stop and look you can see the perfect place for these albums to be stored on a bookshelf, or in another place of honor in your home. Imagine a shelf with 10 albums and on the spine it says Our Family 2016, Our Family 2018 and so on… no small moment will be forgotten.

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Family photos aren’t all about matching white button downs with khaki cargo pants. A true San Diego family photographer should guide you through not only wardrobe, color themes, hair, and makeup but also through creating a vision for your session and home décor that is a true representation of your family. Fun, exciting with your fashion sense and memorable all while creating art you will always cherish.

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So, what about CD’s? I hear this a lot these days and the funny thing is when I did offer these, I was told they sat in a drawer.  Technology is changing much too fast to rely on having a CD of images. Just today I heard that Best Buy will no longer be selling CD’s! Apple has already come out with the UCSB, a replacement for the USB. When I started in computers everything was on a 5″ floppy and those are relic’s now.

I offer a full studio experience,  with the best products on the market, not a CD of images. The products I offer are Legacy pieces, designed with your home in mind, and your legacy in mind.  I offer Italian leather fine art handmade heirloom albums, gallery wrap canvas, giclee acrylics, high-quality metals and fine art prints. These are chosen to be beautiful and to last.  Every time we meet to bounce ideas off each other on your next family session, we will discuss fun, innovative ways to photograph your family in a manner that will be creative and unique to you!  We will also determine which products should be considered for that session.

Images are meant to be printed and displayed. The goal of a true professional is to ensure you have art pieces that can be shared with your family.

When you look back over the years at your family’s art collection, do you think you would regret investing your time and money in creating and documenting these memories? I can honestly assure you, you won’t. Or you can look at it from another perspective – do you think you would regret looking back over the years and not having your children photographed at birth, or when they had their first birthday or when they turned five and lost their first tooth? I guarantee you would.

ABOUT CINDIE WOLF

San Diego Family Photographer | San Diego Portrait Photographer | San Diego Children’s Photographer | San Diego Headshot Photographer | San Diego Glamour Photographer

Family Portraits Support Happy Kids

 I was talking with my mom recently (she is a marriage, family, child therapist) about the value of family portraits in a home.  She made some great points that I hadn’t considered which got me thinking, so I started digging into what’s been written about this. One of the powerful aspects of family photography that I wasn’t aware of, is how having portraits in your home can help raise children with stronger confidence in their own worth and abilities. Psychologists and experts have done some work exploring this, so I looked it up.

In 1975 a study was done with a group of fourth graders at a Tennessee school by Tulane University. During a five-week period, the children took Polaroid instant photos of themselves with provided cameras in a variety of assigned poses, compositions while expressing a variety of emotions. Over those five weeks, the children worked with printed images of themselves and created scrapbooks once a week. Testing of the students and teachers at the conclusion of the study revealed a 37% (significant) increase in the student’s average self-esteem behaviors. This Murfreesboro Study shows some evidence that personal photography of children seen and enjoyed in a specific way can help boost a child’s self-esteem.

How does having Family Portraits help boost this process in the home?

In 1983, David Krauss, one of the earliest pioneers in using people’s personal photography and family albums to assist in mental health counseling and therapy, co-authored “Photo Therapy and Mental Health”. This became what is considered a founding text for the use of photography in therapy. He said: “I think it is really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unity.”

Judy Weiser, a psychologist, art therapist and author based in Vancouver says: “Family Portraits lets children learn who they are and where they fit”.  “They learn genealogy and the uniqueness of their own family and its story. When a child sees a family portrait with them included in the photography they say to themselves: These people have me as a part of what they are, that’s why I belong here. This is where I come from.”

Ms. Weiser has spent more than 20 years using all manner of personal photography to assist in the treatment process of her clients. She is considered by many to be the foremost authority on these treatment techniques called Photo Therapy.

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Craig Steinberg, a licensed psychologist from Eugene, Oregon, who works with children ages five through 13 states: “My personal and clinical bias is there is something very powerful in touching your fingers to an actual print”. Touching the photograph where a face is smiling or the shoulders, it is the same thing as touching a book when you read it. There’s a lot of stimulation of the brain when you have that sensory experience. That is a bit lost in the move to digital. You are touching a keyboard, mouse of touchscreen monitor, but you are not touching the image”.

Displaying Portraits in your home

“Displaying photos prominently in the home sends the message that our family and those in it are important to one another, and we honor the memories we have experienced”, says Cathy Lander-Goldberg, a licensed clinical social worker and professional photographer in St. Louis, Missouri and the director of Photo Explorations, which offers workshops to girls and women using portrait and journaling for self-reflection.

Additionally, Krauss recommends having photographs of that child with their family placed in the child’s bedroom so it can be among the last things they see before sleep and the first thing they may see before beginning their day. “It says we love you and we care about you. You’re important”!

teenbedroom_rusticromanticImagine placing portraits in your children’s room of them being happy in your arms. According to the experts, this could be something that might help ground them as they go through their teen years.  Portraits speak when there are no words to be spoken. They are a gentle reminder and they bring to life positive memories that constantly reassure and message, “you belong” and “you are loved”. Having your kids see this when they wake up and as they fall asleep would keep that message alive when they go to their room angry and moody.

When my children moved out of state, I would find myself walking through the house, then stop to look at the image on the wall and just relive the memory! I hated that they were all so far away, but as I stared at the image on the wall, just for a moment, I got to hear their voices and relive that moment…

I hope you celebrate your family on your walls; walls that you see and walk past each day. One day those beautiful children of yours will be grown and gone, and you will walk through the house and pause, remembering all the chaotic, messy life that happened all around you while your children were growing up. Every impactful memory will be there in front of you, hanging on your walls.

What a wonderful way to never forget those moments!

Sunflower Garden is open!

Over the past two years, I’ve wandered out my front door and walked down the path with a purpose. Here, I check all the pretties lined up to make sure no more rabbitts have eaten more of the tender young sprouts that I have so much hope in.  I have pIanted,  I water, I weed, I spread mulch, I collect rocks and pray that the beauty I imagine will come and this garden will radiate love and glee and hope. I imagine children will be bewildered by the sizes of the giants and mothers will be enamored with the colors and happy faces. I pray it will be a place that dads can toss their kids up to see tallest ones or carry them on their shoulders and children can give their mama’s a  flower or two.

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This week the garden is ready, the  Sunflowers have finally bloomed! After so many months the next two weeks will be the perfect time to take advantage of this family venue.  The garden is open for portraits starting at 7pm in the evening until June 18th.

$175 Session fee,  Packages begin at $325  Call 619.208.1282 to book your session today!

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